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Russia: Moscow Patriarchate considers Vatican document dangerous


The Russian Orthodox Church severely criticizes the Vatican's statement of principles, “Fiducia supplicans”, on the blessing of same-sex couples in the Roman Catholic Church.

01.03.2024 09.10

Online since today, 9:10 am

The chairman of the Biblical-Theological Commission of the Moscow Patriarchate, Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev), sees the document as a “very serious departure from Christian moral norms”, as he said in an interview with the state news agency RIA Novosti on Thursday.

The Vatican does not go as far as Protestant churches, but “all this is perceived as a very dangerous signal and as a concession by the leadership of the Catholic Church to liberal circles that are trying to dictate their agenda.”

Order to test Patriarch Kirill

According to Hilarion, his theological commission was tasked by Patriarch Kirill of Moscow to analyze the Vatican document. She came to the conclusion that “Sacred Scripture can in no way justify this new practice.” The Metropolitan did not make it clear when the commission's report would be published. He complained that the Vatican letter did not expect so-called irregular couples to repent or change their lifestyle.

Kyrill deposed Hilarion as head of the Russian Orthodox Church's Foreign Ministry in mid-2022 and sent him to Hungary, where he has since worked as Metropolitan of Budapest. The cleric, who was a Russian Orthodox bishop in Vienna in the 2000s, continues to head the theological commission of the Moscow Patriarchate. The December 18 document “Fiducia supplicans” (The Begging Trust) allows for spontaneous blessings for unmarried, remarried and homosexual couples in the Catholic Church in the spirit of pastoral acceptance.

Debate within the church about the document

To avoid confusion with marriage, the blessing should not take place within the framework of a liturgical celebration. They should also not take place in an important location in the church building or in front of the altar.

The Vatican also emphasizes that blessings do not tolerate or justify the situation in which the people in question find themselves. The blessing document provoked heated debate in many countries and within the Vatican. Among other things, Africa's Catholic bishops opposed it by a large majority.